Susan Crile Exhibit & Lecture surrounding tales from Guantanamo Bay, Feb. 22
Acclaimed artist Susan Crile sheds a dramatic light on the inhumane treatment of prisoners and the physical realities of torture in her upcoming lecture, “Pain and the Abuses Of Power: Guantanamo Bay’s Legacy,” on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library. The cross-disciplinary presentation is part of Fairfield University’s Creativity, Politics and the Performing Arts Lecture Series and coincides with Crile’s exhibit, "Guantanamo and BlackSites: In Our Name," which is currently on display in the University’s Lukacs and Experimental Space Galleries in Loyola Hall until March 9, 2017. Both the lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.
“Art is a powerful vehicle, not only for bringing attention to humanitarian issues like torture, but to illicit empathy,” explained Marice Rose, PhD, Director of the University’s Art History program. “Fairfield is a perfect venue for this exhibition, not only because of the cross disciplinary opportunities, but also because of the work members of our campus community do to promote social justice.”
Featuring life-sized drawings and paintings of political prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Crile’s powerful and poignant exhibit depicts acts of torture and abuse as documented in testimonies made by prisoners, their lawyers and human rights organizations. Through the simplistic beauty of figure drawing, Crile illustrates the pain that humans are capable of inflicting upon one another in the name of justice, while making viewers aware of the fragility of the human body and the strength of the spirit in the face of some of the most terrible abuses a person can endure. In an effort to humanize the prisoners, viewers are faced with the discomfort of seeing a human being shackled and nailed into an airless container or being locked in a confided space with snakes, rodents and stinging insects.
“I hope people looking at these works are made extremely uncomfortable by what man is capable of doing to man,” Crile said. “I hope they recognize that the many dimensions of torture — physical and psychological abuse, sexual humiliation and violence unto death — committed by the U.S. government, in our name — America’s name — is illegal and immoral. Above all, I hope they will feel how important it is to have compassion and empathy for others.”
Crile has worked as an artist for over four decades and has created more than 2,000 works using oil, acrylic, charcoal, pastels and many other mediums. Her paintings move between the poles of beauty and horror and are featured in the permanent collections of several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum, to name a few. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and her works have been reviewed in almost every major art publication.
"Two years ago, I had the opportunity to view Susan Crile's work along other artists who I felt were addressing many of the political challenges currently facing us as both Americans and as a global community,” explained Jo Yarrington, Professor of Visual and Performing Arts and Project Director for the Creativity, Politics and the Performing Arts Lecture Series. “ I applied for and received two Humanities Institute grants during 2016-2017, so that these artists and their work could offer a cross-disciplinary forum for student and faculty discussions."
Creativity, Politics and the Visual Arts is a lecture series focused on the themes of creativity and political art, social justice and environmental concerns. Crile’s lecture and exhibit is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Politics Department, Humanitarian Action Program, Environmental Studies Program, Fairfield University Art Museum, Service for Justice Residential College, Public Lectures and Events and the Center for Faith and Public Life.
For more information on the exhibit, visit www.susancrile.com.
Pictured Above: "Black Site: Cairo," a life-sized chalk, pastel and clay paint drawing on paper from Crile’s exhibit, Guantanamo and BlackSites: In Our Name.